Sometimes the best way to understand another’s point of view is to see it framed in a story, perhaps a novel, a play or a film. Discussing that with others who read, see or hear the same story can lead to new awareness, deeper insight and even changes in behavior.
The Westport and Weston public libraries have extensive holdings that relate to the kinds of issues TEAM Westport addresses. Discuss your interests with a librarian at either library for a relevant referral.
Westport Public Library
Arnold Bernhard Plaza
20 Jesup Road
Westport, CT 06880
Phone: 203 291-4840
Fax: 203 227-3829
Weston Public Library
56 Norfield Road
Weston, CT 06883
Phone: 203 222-BOOK(2665)
In addition, members of TEAM Westport offer the following suggestions and comments from personal experience:
“The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies” by Scott E. Page makes a clear and rigorously supported case for the proposition that diversity matters. Collective differences in both experience and identity account for as much of a society’s successes as individual ability.
“Considered together with issues of morality and social justice, this book presents an overwhelming case for seeking and achieving diversity in any community.” Nicholas Rudd
"Looking Beyond" — How do you speak with kids about people who are different? This brief article from Creative Living magazine provides a useful framework and examples of how parents can raise their children to embrace and celebrate difference.
"I found this a helpful way to deal with my kids and their classmates when explaining why Johnny looked different or why Sally couldn't be as physically active as they. Kids know about differences early, and this kind of approach can help them understand and respect others." Nicholas Rudd
“Snow in August” by Pete Hamill – a modern-day fable that weaves together the lives of a young Catholic boy and an immigrant rabbi in World War II Brooklyn, with the recurring theme of Jackie Robinson in the background.
“This book was the choice for the annual town-wide Westport Reads program in 2004. A very accessible and readable story on its own, it can easily provoke discussion and reflection on a number of multicultural issues. Well worth the time.” Nicholas Rudd
"Friends and Family: True Stories of Gay America's Straight Allies," by Dan Woog (Alyson Publications) - Inspiring tales of over two dozen straight Americans, working to advance the rights and respect of gays and lesbians, in areas ranging from the law and religion to the Boy Scouts and education.
“How tacky is it for me to recommend one of my own books? On the other hand…” Dan Woog
"The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini is a breathtaking story about an Afghan family and their relationships, friendships and religion, the people, the culture and the politics. It twists and turns through pre-revolutionary and war-torn Afghanistan to America. This extraordinary novel with memorable characters and events achieved #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list.
“I loved this book, couldn't put it down. Although it was fiction, I gained a greater understanding of the situation we all face relative to the conflicts in that part of our world.” Cheryl Scott-Daniels
“The Children in Room E4: American Education on Trial” by Susan Eaton – Parallel narratives tell the compelling story of an all-minority classroom in Hartford, the poorest city in the wealthiest state in the country, and the equally complex tale of the dedicated lawyers who brought Sheff vs. O’Neill, the blockbuster case whose settlement is still (2007) under court supervision.
“If you are interested in our children’s education here in Connecticut, this is a must-read. Eaton uses both reportorial ability and her education PhD to pen an exceedingly clear and nuanced story that is absorbing and disturbing in equal measure.” Nicholas Rudd
"Whistling Vivaldi: and Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us" by Claude M. Steele - With dramatic personal stories and careful experimentation, this renowned social psychologist demonstrates how exposing people to stereotypes affects their behavior, from girls doing poorly on math tests to white students whose grades drop in an African American Studies class.
"The clearest explanation I've yet seen of how (and why) stereotyping changes the way people behave, sadly to their own detriment and to that of the communities in which they live. If you value having everyone live to their potential and rue the price our perceptions exact, this is your book." Nicholas Rudd
Here are some books suggested by TEAM member Maria Dolores Paoli to read from the perspective of the “other:”
"The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" by Junot Diaz (winner of Pulitzer Prize for fiction)
"Ramadan Sonnets" by Daniel Moore (sonnets for each day of fasting during Ramadan)
"Black Boy" by Richard Wright
"The Black Girl Next Door" by Jennifer Baszile
"How The Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents" by Julia Alvarez
"The Coffee Trader" by David Liss
Here are some books suggested by TEAM member Maria Dolores Paoli to read about issues of diversity, identity and multiculturalism:
"Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny" by Amartya Sen (winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature)
"We Are All Moors: Ending Centuries of Crusades against Muslims and Other Minorities" by Anouar Majid